Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

I racked my brain trying to come up with something to say about this game. Usually, I either try to see things from another angle or simply point out the obvious if it hasn't been done. Well, the obvious here is that Eli Manning has silenced his critics, and the Giants' defense flat out dominated. And due to the nature of the Super Bowl, just about every angle, wrong or right, has been approached.

So I'm not going to dwell on the game. What I came out of Sunday more than anything is the fact that I actually enjoyed watching it, and that it finally felt like the biggest game of the most popular American sport. For the past few years, the Super Bowl has been overhyped to the point where I never really got into the football spirit. The commercials and cameos took over as the main event. At every party, at least one person would say something along the lines of, "this football game is interrupting my commercials". It was a glorified exhibition game, set on a pedestal after a bloated two-week layoff.

But not this one. No, the Patriots and Giants hated each other. Before the game, Eli smiled and tried to say something to Tom Brady, and Brady just stared at him with contempt as Eli jogged off. Everyone was rooting for somebody. Whether it was for the underdog or for history (or in my case, hatred of the '72 Dolphins), there was a reason to watch the game.

Part of this is people getting sick of "analysts" and the extended time they had to break down the matchups. I, along with most of the people I know, made a conscious effort to stay away from SportsCenter and shows like PTI. I refused to even watch the pre-game talking heads on Sunday. This kept me from getting burned out before Media Day even started.

However, more than likely is was due to the game itself. Not every year do you get to see an 18-0 team go up against a team that had so many storylines (Eli becoming a great player, Coughlin changing his ways, Strahan almost retiring, Tiki Barber's absence, etc.). No matter how much the NFL tried to shove the Super Bowl down our throats, the game itself was going to overcome all of it. It was an exception to the rule, and next year will probably feel like it has been for a while; boring.

So score one for the NFL, but it's not going to last. Unless it's Manning vs Manning, Super Bowl XLIII will probably be a letdown. It will continue to be about marketing and advertising and less about the sport. But for one year, it was as good as it ever was.


Michael Seff said...

I loved this game even though it was pretty boring through the first 3 quarters. But I hate the Patriots so much this was ultimately a great game.

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